If you haven’t seen The True Cost yet you’re missing out. This documentary paints clearly the challenges and costs of our current unjust fashion system in an easily digestible format. What could take you months of research to understand is presented beautifully in a movie length documentary.
We cannot deny that fast fashion has enormous impacts on people and the planet. It’s time to start choosing people and the planet over the thrills of fast fashion bargains, and profits that don’t count the true cost.
As a consumer you hold the ability to change the fashion eco-system. Your clothes don’t need to be the cause of riots in Bangladesh, industrial accidents, poor health of producers, or what keeps garment workers and the middle class poor. we have the power to make choices treat ourselves and our sisters and brothers globally with kindness.
Here’s ten ways your wardrobe can be kinder:
- Build a wardrobe for life by investing in well made, quality clothes that last and have great style that you’ll love wearing for many seasons. How can you resist the urge to splurge on the latest sale? Each spring and autumn do a closest audit. What needs mending or replacing? Write a list of the pieces you need to replace and then purchase from this list, and invest in quality pieces.
- Buy organic fabric that has been created free of toxic pesticides, chemicals and where possible uses natural and biodegrable dyes. Avoid putting those toxic chemicals and plastic close to your body’s largest organ, your skin.
- Buy clothes of textiles that are biodegrade and return the earth eventually. Your skin with thank you for letting it breathe too! A friend of mine who is a textile teacher a local high school says to her students – If it’s flammable and you wouldn’t sleep in it, it’s not good for you. Don’t buy it!
- Buy locally made – I love supporting New Zealand designers who make their products locally and support the local textile and garment construction workers
- Buy vintage and second-hand. New Zealand used to have a vibrant garment industry. By buying retro you can pick up some of these quality pieces often for much less than you could buy new and you’ll also curate a timeless style that is uniquely you
- Make your own clothes from sustainably sourced textiles or buy remnants of the end of designer rolls. The Fabric Store is an example of a store that sells quality new textiles and reduces waste by stocking mill over runs, end of designer rolls and a large range of natural sourced textiles. Sustainability is important to the company (although not all their textiles are organic).
- Care for your clothes by washing them using environmentally friendly detergents that don’t damage our waterways and are kinder to your clothes and skin
- Mend your clothes well. Create a mending pile when you do laundry and sit down with this collection monthly to repair. Treat yourself with a home movie or catch up on a TV series while you mend.
- Declutter your wardrobe and give your excess to charity or swap with friends. In New Zealand most clothes donated to opshops and charities are sold here. This is not always the case overseas. When donating ask what happens if the clothes don’t get sold within the shop.
- Know who made your clothes – Ask retailers about the origins, processes used and the labour conditions of the people who made their garments. Check if the producers are signatories to the three major accords:
- Uzbekistan Cotton Pledge,
- Accord on Fire and Safety in Bangladesh; and the,
- Ethical Trading Initiative.
To really be revolutionary say that you’ll only buy fairtrade organic items.